March 2023 Flourish Newsletter

Life can sometimes be hard and painful. Flourishing through the tests and trials seasons is what this month’s newsletter focuses on.

And we know that in all things God works for the good for those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

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March 2023 Craft: Mosaic Tiles

By Major Beth Paugh
Intermountain Division

When I think of “Flourishing in the tests and trials season” two things came to mind, the first was a flower breaking through the winter snow. It fights so hard to get through the snow and to show off it beauty. The second thing is how God can take the brokenness that we experience through tests and trials and turn them into something beautiful. So why not combine the two and create something beautiful to remind us that God can create something beautiful through our trials.

Garden Mosaic Tiles are actually very easy and inexpensive to make. And the great thing is that no two are alike, just like us.

Supplies List:

  1. Stones or White Plaster Mix
  2. Shape or mold to hold plaster
  3. Something hard to set the mold on while it hardens
  4. Gloves
  5. Safety Glasses
  6. Hammer
  7. Large Ziplock Bag
  8. Popsicle Sticks
  9. Sponge
  10. Design pattern
  11. Pieces of tiles. Size will depend on the size of the shape or mold you use. You can also go to a Thrift Store and buy dishes to break into pieces. Thus, the need for the Ziplock bag and hammer.


STEP 1: Decide what design you want to use with your tiles. It is helpful to draw out your design on a piece of paper. You will use this for two things. The first is to use this pattern to trace onto the plaster. The second it to help you lay out the tiles to figure out any pattern you wish to use. Make sure that your design is not bigger than the mold or shape you will be using.

STEP 2: Mix plaster per directions. It should have a batter type consistency, you don’t want it to be too runny. You will need enough plaster to fill the mold or shape.

STEP 3: Pour plaster into the mold or shape. Tap it gently on a surface. This helps to evenly spread out the plaster. Once it is level, set it aside to allow it time to begin to harden. Place on a hard surface that you
can easily move.

STEP 4: Trace your pattern into the plaster.

STEP 5: If using precut tiles, begin placing them around your paper pattern. This gives you a chance to play around with colors and shapes of tiles.
If using dishes from a Thrift Store, place them into the Ziplock bag and break into pieces with the hammer. Then when you have the desired sizes, begin placing them onto the paper pattern.

STEP 6: Continue arranging the pieces onto the paper pattern until you have a design you are happy with.

STEP 7: Begin transferring the tiles one at a time from the paper into the plaster. You can either use your finger to press them into the plaster or the popsicle stick. Continue until you have transferred all the tiles into the plaster.

STEP 8: Tap gently on a surface once again to make sure all the tiles are securely into the plaster. The plaster should come right up to the top edge of the tile to make sure they don’t fall out.

STEP 9: Set aside for approximately 24 hours to allow time to fully harden.

STEP 10: Using the sponge and warm water, wash off the tops of the tiles to remove any unwanted plaster.

Step 11: Remove from the shape or mold and enjoy!

Download printable instructions of this craft:

Flourishing Story: God’s Blessing in the Seasons of Life

By Major Deborah Greene (Retired)
Intermountain Division

God always supplies what I need just when I need it. There is an idiom which says, “Into every life a little rain must fall”. But God is my umbrella who protects me from the downfalls, discouragements, and trials I face. As I was thinking about sharing words of encouragement regarding the “Tests and Trials, in the Seasons of Life” a song came to me “You’ve Got a Friend” by Carol King. It’s a secular song but to me it speaks of Jesus.

[Verse 1]
When you’re down and troubled
And you need some loving care
And nothing, nothing is going right
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest night

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running
To see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there
You’ve got a friend

As I take my journey through the winters, springs, summers, and falls of my life, I always find my friend, Jesus. When I am down, I try to stop, close my eyes, and think of Him being near and ready to brighten my circumstances. This past year has been a challenge and opportunity to experience God’s presence
anew and afresh.

I share with you the winter journey in my life. As a 71-year-old retired officer I never dreamed I would again oversee a Salvation Army unit. But as things happen in The Salvation Army, a breakdown occurred four hours from where my husband and I retired. One day, after Home League, I heard from my Corps Officer that a change of officers was necessary in our division. Regular moves had already occurred, and the Intermountain Divisional Headquarters were at a loss to find a replacement. I went home and said to my husband, “We could do that!” So we called the Divisional Commander and said if they needed us, we would be willing to go. The Divisional Commander responded with “I shall get back to you”. Shortly after our conversation ended, he called us and said, “You are an answer to prayer. We shall send the necessary paperwork and you are to report August 4th”.

We were sent to the St. George Outpost to continue the beautiful work the Lieutenants began 3½ years before. They had been assistants at our home corps, and this was their first appointment in charge. Having retired eight years ago I did not realize how overseeing a Salvation Army Unit has changed. In the first few months I experienced feelings of frustration, bewilderment, and exhaustion. Technology is way above my pay grade! “Smash Lab”, a business across the street from the St. George Outpost, has axe throwing. When I saw that I said to my husband, with tongue in cheek “That’s what I need, axe throwing to relieve my stress.” However, I went for the tried-and-true method of calling on the name of Jesus, running to Him, and He came as He promised. He has my back. Our God is a God of miracles! As I trust in Him, He provides strength, encouragement, and wisdom to complete any task I am given.

The greatest blessing of this appointment is the loving people who attend for worship. They are a family. Every Sunday we have Praise and Prayer time. The congregation is a mixture of homeless individuals and working people and I am amazed the way our “family” steps up and helps with projects. My husband and I had to be away for Easter because of the death of our son-in-law. Two women stepped up, offering to oversee the Sunday activities. My husband asked the gentleman who collects the Sunday offering to preach. He accepted the responsibility with no reservations.

The springtime of my life was our appointment out of Training School. As our Commissioning Day approached, my husband and I conferred with each other and said we would go anywhere but our home division, Southern California. We did not want to raise our children in the hustle and bustle of the area. Our Training Principal asked what we saw as our ministry in The Salvation Army. My husband said we would like Harbor Light Ministry. Commissioning Day arrived. We saluted and were given our assignment, “You are assigned to be Youth Team Leaders for the summer to the Southern California Division.” What?! It was where we said we did not want to go. We did not consider ourselves as musically inclined to supervise four teenagers and conduct meetings in ten different Corps.

At the Santa Monica Corps we met a wonderful soldier who sang a song for us “The Hornet Song.” This song helped us to realize that God “does not compel us to go ‘gainst our will, He makes us willing to go.” During our tenure in Southern California, we discovered corps we would be willing to serve in. By the end of the summer, we were willing to stay. But God had other plans. Our 34+ year career covered three other divisions, but not Southern California.

Our tenure as officers has been challenging, rewarding, and sometimes discouraging, but never dull! My encouragement to you reading my testimony is, no matter what season of life you are in, remember your calling. God has called you and He will equip you.

The One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24, NIV 

Always trust God.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6,NKJV

May God’s peace and blessing attend all your seasons.

February 2023 Craft: Easy Macrame Rainbow

By Major Nancy Ball
Divisional Secretary for Program – Hawaiian & Pacific Islands Division

Tools & Supplies:

  • Hot glue gun
  • Scissors
  • Wire cutters
  • cotton rope – inside (smallest) row cut 12 strands to 14″
  • Yarn in various colors (medium weight)
  • Glue sticks
  • Floral wire – 22 gauge (doubled for each color of the rainbow – smallest one 11″)
  • Painters tape


  • Lay doubled wire onto 12 strands of cotton string. Secure ends with painter’s tape. (See picture below)
  • Begin wrapping desired color of yarn around the string and wire until the desired length is covered with yarn. (See picture below)
  • Cut off exposed ends of wire. Glue all 4 rows together in the shape of a rainbow. Trim ends of cotton string about 2 inches below rainbow. Brush out the strands of string. Hot glue a length of string to the back as a hanger.

Download printable craft directions:

February 2023 Flourish Newsletter

Although we would love for all our life to be “mountaintop experiences,” we know that is not true.  Flourishing while in the valley is what this month’s newsletter is all about.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4

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Flourishing Story: Flourishing in the Valley Season

By Liane Vierra
Kroc Center, Kapolei HI – Hawaiian & Pacific Islands Division

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

This is the scripture that my youngest daughter, McKenna, used in her first testimony at our church when she was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Large B-Cell Lymphoma cancer in July of 2020. She shared in her testimony that she sat in disbelief for a moment and asked God, “Why me?” But then she heard Him say, “Why not you?” As a 26-year-old flight attendant and licensed private pilot, God was calling McKenna to have confidence that He was faithful to His promise in Romans 8:28 and requiring that she would trust Him completely with the six rounds of 120-hour chemo treatments that she would soon endure.

Liane’s Ohana (Family)

The treatments began in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic when health care facilities were implementing “no visitor” policies. McKenna would need to remain in the hospital for five days at a time, just her and God. She expressed that some days were literally so difficult that she had to close her eyes and imagine Jesus sitting at the edge of her hospital bed or rubbing her back when she needed it most. She acknowledged that it was God who got her through every single day, one day at a time. McKenna also shared a quote in her testimony that stated, “Maybe you were assigned this mountain to show others that it can be moved.” And it couldn’t be any truer she said, because after all, faith can move mountains.

God healed McKenna halfway through her treatment in October of 2020. The softball sized cancer that was located near her heart had vanished. Simultaneously, in His strength, McKenna also obtained her instrument pilot’s license. And in her second testimony at our church she humbly declared, “God did that.” Her prayer was that her life would be used as a living testimony for His glory.

McKenna was advised to complete the second half of her chemo treatments and was now working on her commercial pilot license. It was on July 26, 2021, that my whole world literally changed in an instant. McKenna went on an exploratory flight while on a trip to Alaska. She was a passenger on a single-engine Cessna that tragically crashed in a steep mountainous area of upper Eagle River Valley. We were informed that her journey soaring the skies disconcertingly came to an end, McKenna had been promoted to glory. My heart broke and shattered into a million pieces. How could God allow this to happen?

The Coronavirus disease struck my family shortly after McKenna’s passing which caused my oldest daughter, Taurie, to be admitted in the hospital. As if Covid wasn’t enough to conquer, Taurie was also diagnosed with pneumonia. I found myself once again, in the middle of a pandemic, with another daughter in the hospital. For seven days Taurie fought to get better, while I wrestled with God, begging Him not to take her from my family. She was a wife, and a mother to three young boys. In all the 20 years I served God, there had always been weapons thrown at my family. None quite as sharp as death, and now sickness. How do I flourish in a dark season such as this?

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. Isaiah 43:2

God knew beforehand that these afflictions were heading my way, and in His kindness, guided me to places and people where I would be supported and loved, and able to thrive amidst adversity. The Salvation Army was one of those places. He surrounded me with an army of prayer warriors who prayed fervently, gave generously, and loved extravagantly.

By God’s grace, He sustained me. I eventually realized that lovers of God are not excluded from tragedy and even though I did not comprehend everything I was going through, I needed to trust the teacher. God instructed me to seek His perspective and revealed to me that His purpose was greater than my pain. He educated me about how He could use storms to sift my faith so that particles of unbelief would fall out. God conveyed to me that what I cultivated in tears would give rise to an abundant harvest. That He would use my suffering for His glory, and that He would come through.

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8

Taurie recovered from Covid and pneumonia and returned safely home to her family. My God is good indeed.

He is life. Although I faced the devastation of losing McKenna, I have grasped that this earth was not her final destination.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” John 11:25

There is an eternal hope because Christ’s resurrection power has the final say. In eternity, death doesn’t win, Jesus does. McKenna is alive in Heaven, and her testimony will live for His glory. Is she a world changer? God knows.

When I focus my life from the standpoint of Truth, it is only then that I can flourish. I have learned that Jesus doesn’t want to be explained away, He just wants to be invited in. He doesn’t ask me to be perfect, just perfectly surrendered to Him. In this valley, and complementary to McKenna’s prayer, God has been providing me the opportunity to display His glory. When I am weak HE IS STRONG. In Truth I can be set free and remain unwavering in my faith.

Behold I have refined you, but not with silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. Isaiah 48:10

There are days that I wake up and wish that this season was all a bad dream, and there are days that I sit to pray and have no words. In the stillness, nothing but anguish. Then God breaks through the silence and whispers that He has not dropped the pen that He is using to write my testimony. He advises me that when the pen remains in HIs hand, my testimony remains perfect.

After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10

Heaven knows that I would rather have my circumstances be changed, but I know that right now, God wants to focus on changing me.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Liane leading worship

January 2023 Flourish Newsletter

Happy New Year! 365 days to fill with lots to do. This month’s newsletter reminds us that in all the busyness to be still. May 2023 be the year where we make stillness a regular part of our routine with God.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

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Flourishing Story: Flourishing in the Pause

By Captain Sandra Solis
Location – Cascade Division

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines the word “flourish” as, “to grow luxuriantly: Thrive.” Although the word is defined as a verb, an action is to be taken, I have to admit that for some time I did not feel like I was flourishing in my life. 2021 was a particularly difficult year for me. This year was a year of heartbreak, loss and discouragement. In some moments, things just felt stagnant and out of sync and staying still for even a moment felt like a very difficult thing to do. I found myself in a place where I was not certain I would be able to get out of, and I questioned where God was in my life. In a time where staying still was difficult, flourishing just did not feel like it was happening.

How did I find time to grow and flourish and remember who God is? It began by doing the exact thing I always have trouble with. It began by pausing. Pausing whatever I was doing and taking a deep breath -yes, just taking a deep breath and stopping whatever I was doing at that moment, even if it was hard for me to do. By concentrating on my breathing I was able to ground myself and focus on what my next steps were, and what I needed at that specific moment. Sometimes it was just a time of stopping and getting a cup of coffee at my favorite coffee place. These moments became part of my routine to try and figure out or make sense of all that was happening.

The beautiful thing about these pauses was that I did not have to do this on my own, and even more beautiful was the fact that God provided what I needed at that moment. These pauses came in the forms of praying, reaching out to family and friends, encouraging words, prayers that sustained me, a dessert here and there, and taking my dog Oliver out for afternoon walks. So why the deep breaths and taking the time to pause? Because it helped me to calm down, it helps me to refocus on things, and it also helped me gain clarity on the situations.

Isaiah 41:10 (ESV) reads, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” The Lord is with us -this verse is a command and a promise! Although fear can be paralyzing at times, we have the God who loves us and has chosen each one of us and tells us to do not be afraid for He is with us. Fear, worry and doubt are somethings that have come across my mind a lot during this season of my life, and perhaps these are feelings that have crossed your mind too.

In the words of Isaiah, we are reminded that the Lord is with us -strengthening and upholding us. Friends, the Lord that loves us and has chosen us is with us every day and every moment. “Do not be dismayed, for I am your God.” He is our God, He is with us, and we are not alone. “Strengthen, help, uphold,” these are verbs that mean the Lord is active in our lives. He is for us, He helps us and gives us the strength to overcome the valleys in our lives -He is our God, and we are His children.

Flourishing in a season where things did not always feel synchronous was difficult for me. I love when things are in order and things make sense, but this was also a life changing, life transforming time. In the stillness, in the quiet moments, in the moments where deep breaths took more effort than they should, encountering God made those moments more and more peaceful and it became more and more evident that He was with me every step of the way.

Friends, He is with us in every moment of our lives, through the “asynchronous” moments, down in the valleys and atop the mountains. Psalm 46:10 reads, “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” I find it difficult to be still for long periods of time. My inability to be still causes me to miss the growth in my life, my ministry and my friendships. There have been moments in my life when I could not see evidence of growth, but God did a work in me, and He showed me luxurious growth done by His righteous right hand and like a flower I flourished.

Flourishing, may not always look like what we had hoped for, planned for, or envisioned at this time in our lives. In some seasons we flourish and in some seasons we feel like we are not. This is when we pray, we grow, we adapt, and we overcome -and sometimes we eat a slice of cake! (or your favorite dessert). Then we continue to walk and trust in the Lord who is with us every step of the way.

I pray, whatever season you may be in now, you find moments to take a deep breath, take a pause, and know that He is God and be reminded in the stillness of life you are flourishing, and the Lord is with you -strengthening you and upholding you with His righteous right hand.

January 2023 Craft: Finding Your Peace Painting

By Captain Jan Pemberton
Divisional Women’s Ministries Secretary – Cascade Division

When we are looking for peace or a break from the ordinary in our lives, we often gravitate to a hobby that gives us peace and lets us disconnect from the stresses of the world in which we live in. Some of us love the great outdoors, enjoying activities such as hiking, biking, and fishing, and some of us enjoy the outdoors in other ways, such as watching nature from the comfort of our homes or campsites. However, not everyone is cut out for the great outdoors, some due to mobility, health, and such. When those of us who are not outdoorsy look for something to give us peace, we turn to other activities such as playing an instrument, coin and stamp collecting, sewing, embordering, and painting.

Today we are going to explore the world of painting. Remember, we don’t have to be Rembrandt, Van Gogh, or any other famous painter to enjoy our hobby. All we need are some simple tools, inspiration, and time.

Below are instructions to paint a simple background with your favorite memory verse or inspirational quote.

Supplies needed:

  • Acrylic Paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Primed Canvas
  • Pencils
  • Paint Markers, if desired
  • Ruler or stencil
  • Paint remover for brushes
  • Table covering


  1. Paint the entire canvas with desired background color

2. Draw the intended image for the background and paint the image with desired colors.

3. Add your favorite scripture verse or inspirational quote.

4. Have fun with this craft. Make it your own and put your personal spin on this project. Remember, no matter your interests, allow God to use them for His glory and use the talents He has given you.

Download printable craft directions

Flourishing Story: My Testimony

By Major Erica Yang
Federal Way, WA – Northwest Division

Note: Recently Major Rutendo Masango interviewed Major Erica Yang. This is her testimony.

When do you become a Christian?

I was born into a Christian family. My parents were Salvation Army officers in South Korea. I was dedicated to the Lord as a baby at The Salvation Army corps in Seoul. I accepted Jesus in my heart as a little child from Sunday school. At the age of 18, I committed my heart to the Lord. I was ordained and commissioned as a Salvation Army officer in the Western Territory on June 18, 2002.

Tell about your family.

My parents are the best examples of faithfulness. As active officers, they did their best to serve others in God’s name. Growing up, we had family worship time at 9 pm in the evening. We sang hymns, read the Scriptures, prayed and my father shared the Bible message. Even in her retirement, my mother continues to be a prayer warrior. People always ask her to pray for them.

How are you growing in the Lord?

I am growing in the Lord through many prayers by our church members, family members, and fellow Salvation Army officers. Prayer is powerful in my life.
I also take time to read the Bible, study God’s word, pray, and take a quiet time for daily devotional time. I also take time to rest and enjoy the Lord’s presence.

What does the word “flourish” mean to you?

I googled the Christian meaning for the word, flourish and it says, “Flourishing life gives peace, blessings, maturity that reveal God’s loving purpose for people to experience the very best form of life.” Hallelujah!

The word flourish to me means that God is working in my life and helping me grow. It also means growing together as the church family. The Federal Way Corps members are very faithful and dedicated to the Lord. It gives synergy for each other to grow and spiritually flourish as the church family.

How are you currently flourishing in your life?

I am currently flourishing in my life through the help of the Holy Spirit. My mind and heart are closer to God. My life has become simpler and easier because I know God is in control. When I empty myself and trust the Lord, God helps me to flourish.

Share about what God is currently teaching you.

God is teaching me to “Be still.” This means I do not have to worry about anything. I do not have any struggles in my heart. God is also teaching me that He is the “same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.” He never changes.

Share about the Federal Way Youth

The Federal Way youth are a blessing to me. They are hungry for God’s Word, they are attentive, they want to be involved in the corps, they volunteer, they want to work at Camp. They are truly a blessing from the Lord.

The Youth recently received the leadership training by Captains Pavlakis from the Youth Department, here in the Northwest Division.  I noticed that it helped with their spiritual maturity. The leadership training helped them to take more ownership of the corps.  I recommend every Corps provide leadership training for both youth and adults. 

 Our youth Praise and Worship team recently participated in the Territorial Encore Final Competition during Commissioning at The Salvation Army Tustin Ranch Corps. 

They showed commitment and dedication as they practiced their songs.  Even though they did not win, to them that did not matter. They were blessed to be able to take part in the competition.

 The youth are mature enough to enjoy the real purpose of participating and praising God with fellow God’s young people.  Some of them are interested in joining the mission work of The Salvation Army, working at the Camp, and becoming Salvation Army officers in the future.

 I truly appreciate all our spiritually mature adults at the church who continually support and pray for our young people. The corps is also blessed to have fantastic youth workers, Jesse Hodges, Farnaz Nisha, and Debra Doty who pour daily into these kids.   

Share about the Federal Way Women’s and Men’s Ministries

Our women’s and men’s groups are serving God in many ways. Our Corps members are a multi-cultural group. It started as a Laotian ministry, and now we have people from various multi-cultural backgrounds.
One would think the corps would have trouble communicating, but not the Federal Way Corps. Even though we have many different languages and cultures represented, we have not had trouble understanding each other. This is truly a blessing.

Some of our church members have vegetable gardens at home. They always share the vegetables with the Corps members. They also bring the vegetables to our Corps food pantry to give to the needy people in the community.

Prayer is huge part of the Federal Way Corps. We operate a 24-hour prayer line. We are connected to the 24-hour prayer group via on Facebook messenger. We also take prayer requests from Social Services, or through telephone calls. We share the prayer requests, and actively pray for everyone who asks to pray.
Both women’s and men’s groups meet once a week to study the words of God. The women’s ministries puts together a quarterly food auction to raise money for the World Services.

Men’s ministries is also busy. They take care of the Corps building needs, and do small projects, to keep the corps building in good shape. The men also do Community Care Ministries which includes visitations and phone calls. They also volunteer for kettles during our busy time of the year at Christmas.

Our women’s and men’s group members come every Tuesday and Thursday for the sewing club to make shopping bags and aprons. These are auctioned quarterly at the World Services Auction. Our bags and aprons have become very popular, as people from various places ask to purchase our shopping bags and aprons. We have already mailed shopping bags to Alaska and Los Angeles and received donations. We even have people from New Zealand asking to purchase the aprons! The sewing group also make blankets to give to the homeless through Social Service.

Do you have a favorite Bible verse?

Yes, I have many Bible verses I love, including Psalm 62: 6 which says: “Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.”

God is my only rock, my salvation, and my fortress. I will not be shaken by this world.
As a young person, before maturing spiritually, I was shaken easily. Now, I know that God is my Father, who is in control. God is the creator of this entire universe, and He created us to be His children. There’s nothing to be afraid of and be shaken by in this world.

What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about doing everything I do in God’s name. I love people and want to share the love of God with anyone I meet in any place.

At present, I love our church members at the Federal Way Corps. They are all God’s beautiful people, and I feel blessed to serve at this amazing corps.

I am also passionate about the homeless ministry, social justice, and helping those dealing with depression and mental illness. There are many homeless people and mentally challenged people in our society. I pray for them and provide necessary items for them (for example, clothing, food) and share the message of God.